13
Nov

COP26: TOWARDS AN AGREEMENT ON 10-YEAR TIME FRAMES

The issue of common timeframes for NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) is one of the most crucial issues at COP26, along with climate finance and transparency.

Negotiations were due to close on Friday, but work continued through the night and into Saturday, and the urgency to agree on concrete commitments is being felt in the corridors of the Glasgow Convention Centre.

As the first week of COP26 drew to a close, discussions on the timing of the NDCs were still in a state of flux, with a draft conclusion containing 9 different text proposals, reflecting the divergence between Parties.

The main issues under discussion are:

  • the choice of words to express the degree of commitment required from countries on NDCs: countries “shall”, “are invited to”, “are encouraged” to deliver updates of their determined national contributions;
  • the time frame to be applied to NDCs reported by 2025, and what common deadlines to apply to NDCs that will be reported in 2030, 2035, 2040.

The 9 text proposals all have different, more or less substantial, wording to support three different options: every 5 years, every 10 years, or 5+5 years (an overall time horizon of 10 years with a mid-term review at the fifth).

Confirming the difficulty of finding an agreement on the subject, there were still 9 open proposals still on Monday 8th November. It was only on Tuesday 9th, with an informal negotiating session (and we assume some informal-informal sessions as well), that the number of textual proposals dropped from 9 to 2.

The majority of the Parties are in favour of the more ambitious 5-year option, while a smaller group of states led by India, Russia, the Arab Group and Australia, support the inclusion of both options (5-year and 10-year), speaking of Common Times FrameS (the s in the plural indicates more possibilities).

Of note is the position of the European Union, which supports the “up to 10 years” option, instead of supporting the more ambitious 5-year option.

Finally, on Thursday 11th November at 17.00, this draft text was circulated, which arrives at a single 10-year proposal: 

(an extract from the draft text circulated yesterday)

It seems that in order to reach a decision, the most ambitious countries had to give way in favour of a more flexible and less ambitious approach that would allow a 10-year time frame for national climate commitments in NDCs. Of concern, however, is the current wording of the second paragraph of the draft, which appears to allow countries “that are not in a position” to submit a new 10-year NDC in 2025 (with a 2035 horizon) to delay submission until 2030 (with a 2040 horizon).

We wait to see if this draft will be included in the final text later today.

by Margherita Barbieri, Italian Climate Network Volunteer at COP26

You are reading this ICN COP Bulletin article as part of the EC DEAR SPARK project. Marirosa Iannelli, Coordinator of the Climate & Advocacy Department of ICN, overviews this activity. ICN monitors negotiations and reports what is happening in Italian and English, on our website and on social channels, as part of a pan-European consortium of over 20 non-profit organizations committed to promoting climate awareness with particular attention to the role of young people and issues related to international cooperation and gender policies.

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